But more coverage alone isn’t enough. The mainstream media is terribly handicapped by its supposed devotion to balance and “objectivity.” When one major political party, its presidential candidate, and its allies in infotainment are lying at top volume, the traditional “on the one hand, on the other hand” two-step is no longer an adequate way to confront the lies and cut through them, a fact that is as true on the border issue as it is on many others. The non-Fox News media should regularly and directly take on the distortions of Trump and his fellow Republicans, report them, and contradict them with facts.
There is some recent precedent. During Covid, when the right-wing media and its allies tried to discredit the new vaccines, the mainstream challenged the lies head-on—interviews with scientists, physicians, and public health specialists filled our airwaves and newspapers. When the far-right wing fever swamps started promoting the idea that the animal de-wormer ivermectin could treat Covid, CNN and The New York Times didn’t ignore the reality; they reported the false information and repeatedly discredited it, never allowing such fallacious claims to find a purchase on their platforms.
There is absolutely room to challenge the current U.S. border policy. There are flaws to be exposed, people in power to be faulted for their failings. Everyone is entitled to demand good-faith changes to the immigration system—even drastic ones. And the media should make a home for coverage of all of this. But no one has the right to tell vicious and dangerous untruths about hundreds of thousands of human beings. Blaming migrants for the 112,000 fentanyl deaths is nothing short of a blood libel.